Unity Ministry International (UMI) started as a vision. From 1993-1997, Al Barber had taken in several drifters and homeless people while training them to drive trucks. At that time, Al was operating a tractor-trailer training center based in Columbus, Georgia. Because God gave Al a helping heart, he would often assist the students with overcoming a myriad of personal obstacles, including obtaining a driver’s license, a social security card, and a work visa, as well as obtaining medical, dental, and vision care. In July of 1997, on the 18th day of fasting, God gave Al a mission to close his training center and seek out his spiritual brother, Pastor Jim, in Prattville, Alabama. His goal was to form a faith-based ministry to continue helping the poor and those in need.
Pastor Jim had started a nondenominational church and had a food brokerage business. While living in Prattville, Al took in several homeless people, including alcohol and drug addicts, people released from prison, and drifters. Along with Pastor Jim, Al helped feed and clothe families in need. This was rewarding and useful service, but Al observed many of those they had helped relapse into drug and alcohol addiction. This included Al enduring the attempted suicide by hanging of one of his housemates. Unfortunately, Al and Pastor Jim had little success in creating their larger ministry plan, but this did not stop Al.
The Lord had given Al the vision of UMI before he had left Columbus. The name meant to restore the act of serving around the world. Man requires healing and restoration in each of his seven dimensions: history, mind, body, spirit, finances, family, and future (Genesis 1:27). Today, the mission of UMI is to help train and restore alcohol and drug addicts, the homeless, the mentally and physically challenged, prisoners, the unemployed, elderly persons and all others that have been outcast and live in human bondage, suffering, and poverty. The restoration and training plan includes (a) infrastructure to remedy overlapping or deficient human services, (b) training and resident services to address all forms of addiction, and (c) training and gainful employment for the transitioning program participants.